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Bracknell Bees 2 - 5 Guildford Flames (Sat 26th Dec 2015)

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Bracknell Bees logo The Bees fell to local rivals Guildford in their Boxing Day match up at The Hive...

Match report by John Slater

The Bracknell Bees welcomed their local rival Guildford Flames to The Hive for their Boxing Day home game. The Bees went into the game missing David Savage whilst the visiting Flames were without Andrew Melachrino, Paul Dixon and Erik Piatak. Referee Paul Brooks took charge of the match with Andy Cook and Andrej Korsaks running the lines. Alex Mettam and Stephen Wall started in nets for the respective teams.

Photo supplied by Bracknell BeesThe game opened at a frantic pace with the two sides exchanging early chances. Tom Duggan and Kevin Phillips coming close for the visiting Flames and the Bees Milan Kostourek, Vanya Antonov and Scott Spearing all forcing Stephen Wall into action in the Flames net. With just under three minutes gone in the game Bees forward Alex Barker was called for tripping and only thirteen seconds into the resulting powerplay the Flames had the first goal of evening as during a goal mouth scramble Jens Eriksson, somewhat fortuitously, banked the puck in off the back of Lewis Turner and past Alex Mettam in the Bees net. There was worse to come for the Bees as only ninety seconds later the visitors had doubled their lead as Tom Duggan found Janis Ozolins in front of the Bees net and he found the net over Alex Mettams shoulder. Still reeling from the two quick goals the Bees found themselves further behind as the Flames Danny Meyers fired a wrist shot over Mettam for the Flames third goal in a little over two minutes. Following the Flames third goal the Bees bench called for a timeout to regroup and talk things over. The break appeared to have the desired effect and the Bees battle hard to get themselves back into the game. A Matt Foord shot was deflected over the bar by Stephen Wall and Alex Mettam soon after produced a tremendous triple save from Matic Kralj, Ben Campbell and Kralj again to keep the Flames at bay. Lukas Smital and Milan Kostourek broke away but the puck got away from Smital before he could get his shot away. With nine minutes on the clock Danny Meyers headed to the penalty box on a hooking minor, having hauled Milan Kostourek back on a breakaway. The Bees power play went to work with Lukas Smital shooting through a crowd, Milan Kostourek trying his luck from range and Matt Foord firing into Stephen Walls chest. As the penalty expired Janis Ozolins broke for the Flames but again Alex Mettam came up big to deny the Flames forward. With the play swinging from end to end James Galazzi came close for the Bees before Matt Foord rang a shot of the Flames post. Ben Campbell was denied with Alex Mettam pulling off a good pad save. Vanya Antonov fired into Stephen Wall from close in following some good work along the boards. The Bees found themselves with another power play opportunity when Jez Lundin was called for tripping. The Bees pushed forward as the period ran down with Milan Kostourek and James Galazzi firing in long range efforts whilst Lukas Smital and Kostourek again had chances in close well saved. Lewis Turner also fired a long range blast in before Lukas Smital was denied by the sprawling Stephen Wall. As the hooter sounded for the end of the first period the Teddy Bears rained down onto the ice as the Bees fans again showed their generosity in the annual charity Teddy Bear Toss.

The Bees needed to find a way back into the game quickly as the second period got underway and they started the better of the two sides. Carl Thompson forced Stephen Wall into action early on and after some good possession the Bees line of Vanya Antonov, Milan Kostourek and Lukas Smital combined well with the young forward tipping the puck into the Flames net for the Bees first goal of the evening with a little under four minutes gone in the second twenty. Visibly lifted by the goal the Bees pushed forward again and chances for Turner, Antonov and Kostourek all came close to narrowing the lead further. The Flames Lee Esders fired in from long range but it was met by Alex Mettams pads well. With seven minutes remaining in the period the Bees did pull the Flames back as Vanya Antonov found Milan Kostourek with a measured pass and he fired a wrist shot past Stephen Wall for the Bees second goal. The joy however was short lived for the Bees and their fans as the Flames extended their lead again only twenty-three seconds later through Janis Ozolins. Tempers then frayed as Scott Spearing and Matic Kralj clashed, the visitors finding themselves with the man advantage following the penalties. Alex Mettam however was in fine form as he denied Danny Meyers, Janis Ozolins and Jens Eriksson on the power play. Just as the Bees killed off the penalty Lukas Smital was called for tripping and the Bees penalty kill unit had it all to do again. They did so effectively with Milan Kostourek coming close shorthanded too. The closing minutes of the period were played out with the sides exchanging possession in neutral ice and chances limited by both defences.

Two goals back the Bees had two early chances in the final stanza as Lukas Smital and Vanya Antonov combined well but the resulting chance trickled narrowly wide and a Jan Bendik shot flew just wide of the post. Ben Campbell, for the visitors, also stick handled the puck well past two Bees players but his shot was met well by Alex Mettam in the Bees net. Scott Spearing and Alex Barker both came close for the Bees but the visiting Flames were starting to dominate possession of the puck but without creating any clear chances. With six minutes gone Bees defenceman Lewis Turner was called for tripping and the Flames had a power play chance to kill off the game but the Bees defence dug deep and stood firm with Milan Kostourek unlucky not to score short-handed on a good breakway effort. Tempers frayed once more as Matt Towe and Lukas Smital, this time, clashed with the Flames once more receiving the power play chance. With Lewis Turner also still in the box the Flames had a short five on three advantage. The Bees saw off the two man advantage well but still had the one man advantage to see off. The Flames pressed looking for the game sealing goal but despite Janis Ozolins firing just over and Alex Mettam coming up with good stops from Danny Meyers, Tom Duggan, Matic Kralj and Ben Campbell they couldn't find another goal. Into the final ten minutes of the game and the sides were still exchanging chances as the play swung from end to end. The sides exchanged penalties as first Lewis Turner for the Bees and then Lee Esders for the Flames were assessed minor penalties but both defences stood firm on the resulting powerplays. As time ran down on the game the Flames pushed forward and applied late pressure which saw Alex Mettam deny Tom Duggan with a good double save. With only fifty-seven seconds remaining though the visitors did find a final way past Mettam as Janis Ozolins poked home a loose puck to seal the victory for the visitors.

Man of the match awards went to Scott Spearing for the home side Bees and to Janis Ozolins for the visiting Flames.

Match stats
Period scores: 0-3, 2-1, 0-1
Bees scorers: Antonov & Kostourek 1+1; Smital 0+2
Flames scorers: Ozolins 3+0; Meyers 1+1; Eriksson 1+0; Duggan 0+3; Kralj & Lundin 0+2; Kristofferson & McKinney 0+1
Bees PIMS: 16 (Smital 6; Turner & Spearing 4; Barker 2)
Flames PIMS: 10 (Kralj, Meyers, Esders, Towe, Lundin 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 39 (10, 14, 15)
Shots on Flames (Wall): 26 (14, 7, 5)

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